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Math adding for up for Steelers' Bell

PITTSBURGH -- The football math that Todd Haley learned from the Pro Football Hall of Fame coach who gave him his NFL start goes like this: 100 rushing or receiving yards equals a touchdown.

That measure is one reason Haley was eminently happy -- though not satisfied -- with Le'Veon Bell's production in the season opener. Bell rushed for 109 yards and a touchdown and also caught six passes for 88 yards in the Pittsburgh Steelers' 30-27 win over the Browns.

“So he had almost 14 points,” said Haley, the Steelers’ offensive coordinator. “He’s a lot further ahead from where he was [last season]. He’s not there yet. Now he has to show that he can go out and do it on a week in and week out basis.”

What bodes well for the Steelers’ offense is Bell has done just that since missing the first three games of his rookie season with a sprained foot.

Since the fourth week of the 2013 season, Bell ranks fifth among NFL running backs with 1,456 yards from scrimmage, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

The only running backs who have gained more yards than Bell during that span are LeSean McCoy (1,744), Matt Forte (1,739), Jamaal Charles (1,639) and Knowshon Moreno (1,503).

“He’s far ahead of his time right now,” Steelers fullback Will Johnson said of Bell.

The Steelers loved Bell coming out of Michigan State because he was a complete back. They have to be thrilled with how he ran the ball against the Browns.

Bell gained 61 of his 109 yards after initial contact, according to ESPN Stats & Information, and he has averaged 107.7 rushing yards in his last three games dating back to last season.

“There’s a target on his back because he has the skill set to do a lot of things for us and be a terrific weapon, both running, protecting and as a pass receiver,” Haley said. “I think there is still more out there for him and more to get out of him just from a developmental stage.”